It may be a Leap Year, but February is more of a Connect Month for reporting residential real estate data in 2012. That’s because it’s a buffer between the traditionally slow winter months and what is potentially going to be an interesting and encouraging spring selling season. But let’s not look past brief but brassy February so quickly. After all, it grew a whole day taller this year. Let’s give the oft-overlooked month its due and take a deeper look. New Listings in the Western Upstate region decreased 15.4 percent to 564. Pending Sales were down 25.9 percent to 189. Inventory levels shrank 11.0 percent to 3,784 units. Home prices gazed skyward. The Median Sales Price increased 10.4 percent to $125,000. Days on Market was up 1.4 percent to 165 days. Absorption rates improved as Months Supply of Inventory was down 8.5 percent to 16.3 months. Consumer confidence is as high as it has been in a year, and the Federal Reserve reported growth in all of its 12 banking districts in 2012 through the first half of February, including more hiring and home sales. There are still some challenges to work through, but pessimism is no longer in vogue. Laments over things like unemployment and high gas prices are being replaced with chatter about job prospects and sensible home shopping. The economy and housing market are by no means recovered, but it’s okay to think positive.